The revoking of Article 370 was a HUGE move!
One might sit and debate till the cows come home about how the Govt moved surreptitiously, made a unilateral decision, giving the impression of being a dictatorial leadership in place and scrapped this historical Article. But the truth is that BJP did create history today. The method is not right but then given the controversial nature of 370, this probably was the only way to do it or else, the plan would have got sabotaged.
This Article 370 gave J&K a special status, giving it more autonomy than any other Indian state. But then this is a huge issue in J&K because getting this special status was the basis on which the princely state of J&K joined India. Undoubtedly, this is sure to create immense unrest in J&K and we will be witnessing an escalation in unrest and violence.
This is historic because it marks the end of giving residents of India, or rather Indian citizens a separate identity. Article 370 gives Kashmiris, the status of “permanent residents” and this pertains to those living in the state as at 14th May 1954 when the law came into effect and those who have lived in the state for 10 years anytime since.
This ‘PR’ status comes with a permanent resident certificate and this certificate gives them special benefits in employment and other benefits. But the biggest advantage or rather disadvantage is that only PRs can own or buy land in Kashmir. This was a great advantage for the politicians there as it kept their hold over the people living in J&K intact, the fear factor of allowing “outsiders” was kept alive. One could say that in many ways, the revoking of 370 will put an end to years of xenophobia. It’s preposterous to think that Kashmir has its own constitution, own flag and own anthem???? How was this allowed while they remain part of India? And if this is not ‘separatist’ what else could alienate Kashmiris from rest of India?
The 370 had to go because it was introduced way back in 1927 by the then King, Hari Singh, to stop the influx of people from the northern state of Punjab into the state. Contrary to what the leaders in J&K want us to believe, this law was brought in at the behest of the then powerful Kashmiri Pandits. And we are living in 2019 and how can a thought process of 1927 remain valid?
What we need to understand is that 370 was meant to be a temporary provision included in the Constitution to cater for the specific requirements of the troubled times immediately after India’s independence and the state’s accession to India. But over a period of time, the political parties realized the importance of living like a country of their own within a country, enjoying double benefits. Thus year after year, giving no thought to the implications of what this 370 does to the unity and integrity of India, vested interests in J&K and political parties outside the states, to appease the vote banks, ensured retention of 370.
Thus we will see protests and unrest in J&K and across India because forces which have enjoyed and built their empires and powerful lobbies will use their full might not to let this happen because they have been deriving rich benefits from the present state of affairs. All that will now come to an end.
370 has helped created oligarchs, power elites and Sultans in the state as here is simply no financial legislation and thus no accountability for anything they loot. The common masses have been trampled upon, denied any substantial public welfare.
Article 370 has been built into the psyche of the people living in Kashmir as the core to their identity and removing it has been propagated as catastrophic, something which will kill the Kashmiri Muslim identity forever. But the truth is that no culture can survive without the stimulus of outside contact and opportunity to cross-fertilise.
To some extent, we could see infiltration by Pakistanis into India also coming down with the revoking. Within the broad framework of the special status of 370, it was far easy for secessionist elements to infiltrate into the administrative cadres of the government.
The unfairness of it all - citizens of Jammu and Kashmir become citizens of India automatically; whereas the citizens of India have no such right when it comes to their claiming a similar right in the state. Consequently, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir can own property and settle anywhere in India while 370 prevents any Indian from claiming any such right.
Thus from all perspectives, today’s historic move is laudable. The unrest and violence which will now follow is expected as some very powerful and rich people are being dislodged. Hopefully, the Govt is on high alert to protect the people as this action is sure to have consequences.
The FIIs might be on a “Quit India” movement but for us Indians, the love for the nation should only grow further. DIIs, are you hearing?